Don't SPC/VGM players give perfect fidelity?
They are still emulators.
Hi everyone, donluca from the 16-bit audiophile project here.
I want to clear some misconceptions about what a VGM file is and how it works.
VGM is basically a logging format, which means (in very simple terms) that it saves all the communications that happen between the main CPU (the Motorola 68k in the Mega Drive case) and the Synthesizer (the Yamaha 2612).
So all it has inside is stuff like
"hey YM2612, it's the Motorola 68k here. You have to play the note "Do" in the fourth key of the instrument 1234 for a duration of 0.2 seconds"
Obviously it is written in machine code and not english
VGMs became popular due to their small size and features which allowed people to play back music through emulators on their PCs and it even allowed looping so you could do a rad 10 hours extended mix of your favorite Mega Drive track.
The question is... what happens if you play a VGM file on the original hardware?
Simple: the VGM will just tell the main CPU to send the YM2612 the information stored in the file which means that it's able to reproduce the original tracks with 100% accuracy.
This is how our project works: we have customized software which plays back VGMs on original hardware which then gets recorded through semi-professional recording equipment.
You can read more about that here 16bap.theclassicgamer.net/faq and here 16bap.theclassicgamer.net/the-equipment (bear in mind both pages are awfully outdated and I should get my ass to work and update both of them. Still, most of the information is correct.)
Our goal is a difficult one: maintaining 100% accuracy towards the original hardware (aka getting you the sound the way the author intended) while recording with maximum quality (no background noise, hiss, distortion and so one, and a stock Mega Drive has lots of them). A difficult task which we managed to get done (or so it seems) as lots of people are praising our work, some of them even going to the length of saying we have the best sounding Mega Drive soundtracks of the Internet, surpassing even the OSTs (with some of them being indeed awful).
Just to make it clear: I'm not here to praise my own work or make comparisons (that's up to you), I just want to create an archive of videogame music recorded with the best possible quality and 100% accurate and share it for everyone to enjoy
Feel free to ask me anything, I'll check back this thread from time to time!